Derek is a school support officer at the Controlled Schools’ Support Council, a body established in 2017 to represent controlled schools in the Northern Ireland education system.

He has extensive experience in school leadership and school improvement, including roles as principal at three primary schools.

The CSSC supports more than 550 schools, which means there is a high demand for assistance and guidance. Senior management at the CSSC sourced the course as part of their professional development strategy for staff.

Derek attended our coaching and mentoring training course as a refresher, having worked in a coaching and mentoring role as part of his professional qualification for headship positions.

Derek’s thoughts

The course provided a very good overview of the purposes, rationale and expectations within coaching and mentoring.

The tutor provided an excellent balance to the four days, covering the main elements and ensuring people participated.

I re-learned the importance of listening, and of posing questions that don’t lead the person you are coaching, in particular what they would see as success.

Part of my role is to raise standards among senior leaders in controlled schools.

Coaching and mentoring facilitates important ‘learning’ conversations at an individual level and at a corporate/management level. Developing my coaching and mentoring skills as a school support officer will assist greatly in leading these conversations.

The coaching and mentoring training course has also provided a recognised qualification (a CMI Certificate Level 7 in Coaching and Mentoring).

Applying the learning

The ability to listen and pose the important and relevant questions will enhance my role in schools and as part of the education team.

Hopefully, the techniques I have gained will enable me to have a positive impact on the people I am coaching, their schools and standards, and on myself from a self-awareness perspective.


The course was intense, informative and invigorating. It did exactly what it said on the tin. I was enthused by the content, delivery and collegiality shown by all involved.

It is a thoroughly worthwhile and valuable course which takes you through the essential steps to get started on your coaching and mentoring journey.

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